Surrey Carpentry

Professional Carpentry & Joinery Service

June 20th, 2009 by admin
Simon Carey - Carpenter & Joiner

Simon Carey - Carpenter & Joiner

Welcome to the Surrey Carpentry website.


For whatever kind of carpentry or joinery work you’re interested in, please click the categories to the right and browse through the work we have done in the past.  Please also feel free to leave a comment or two.

If you have any questions or would like to get in touch to talk about what we can do for you, don’t hesitate to get in touch

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Built-in Cabin Bed with Drawers, Guildford, Surrey

Built-in Childrens Cabin Bed with Drawers, Guildford, Surrey

Built-in Childrens Cabin Bed with Drawers, Guildford, Surrey

This cabin bed was built to replace an existing one that could not be positioned under the window illustrated because of it’s size.

With the cabin bed being under the window, the space in the room was put to much better use, and good use of space was also achieved by incorporating drawers, cupboards and a slide-out bookcase into the cabin bed itself.

Positioning the batons

Positioning the batons

Positioning the batons

Positioning the batons

The initial framework for the drawers is set out

The initial framework for the drawers is set out

First of all, the batons that will support the built-in cabin bed are fixed to the wall. Once these are in place, the main slat rail can be positioned between the two walls at either end of the bed. With this in place, the framework for the drawers can be set out and placed. It is much easier to build the drawer carcass first of all, rather than later on when all the slats are fixed in place.

Drawers are fitted into the carcass

Drawers are fitted into the carcass

The slats, front and sides of the bed are positioned

The slats, front and sides of the bed are positioned

A small ladder will be fixed to the sliding bookcase

A small ladder will be fixed to the sliding bookcase

With the drawer carcass in place, the drawers could then be fitted using 450mm ball-bearing telescopic runners.

Next were the ends of the bed, which were fixed to the batons initially set out, before fitting the front of the bed into place. This had a cut out section to allow the user of the bed easy access. Below the cut-out was to be a small ladder made of pine which was attached to a small bookcase on castor’s that was able to roll in and out of  a compartment under the cabin bed. This worked well as good use of space as well as adding a little novelty!

The small bookcase and ladder on castors

The small bookcase and ladder on castors

The cupboard (or hiding place!)

The cupboard (or hiding place!)

The drawers next to the ladder

The drawers next to the ladder

Cabin beds… a great solution to space saving for grown ups, a great space station for kids!… or ship… or hideout… or cave…  :)

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Bespoke Pine Winding Open-tread staircase - Guildford, Surrey

Bespoke Pine Winding Open-tread Staircase - Guildford, Surrey

Bespoke Joinery – Pine Winding Open-tread Staircase – Guildford, Surrey

Staircases are always a pleasure, and even more so with this one.

There was a great deal of work involved but the end result paid off.

The open treads of the staircase and the stop-chamfered spindles work beautifully together with the dual pitches and the angles of the winding treads.

To conform with staircase regulations, in particular the one about not being allowed to pass a 99mm sphere through the staircase at any point, the 99mm sphere representing a baby’s head, each tread although “open” had to have a stub riser beneath it to bring the gaps in the staircase down to 98mm.

Gluing pine treads together

Gluing pine treads together

Gluing pine treads together

Gluing pine treads together

Routing tenons and tread housings

Routing tenons and tread housings

After setting out the staircase on a sheet of MDF, the first thing to do was glue up all the pine treads, as they were larger than timber that could be supplied, and while they were clamped and drying,  the next thing was to mark out the strings (sides of the staircase), and route the housings for the treads.

Newel housings and mortices

Newel housings and mortices

Cutting winding treads to size

Cutting winding treads to size

Checking sizes of winding treads on the drawing

Checking sizes of winding treads on the drawing

While the router was set up, I also routed the housings and mortices into the newel posts.

Next was to cut the winding treads to size, and check them on the drawing.

The assembled the risers and treads

The assembled the risers and treads

Assembling the main flight of the staircase

Assembling the main flight of the staircase

Main flight assembled including 3rd winding tread

Main flight assembled including 3rd winding tread

Pictured above are the assembled treads and risers. There was quite a bit of work to do to get them to this stage, such as plane off excess glue, sand them flat, route the grooves, rebates, round-overs and , as well as fix the risers into the treads.

Once this was done, assembly of the main flight of stairs could begin, as seen above.

Main flight assembled including 3rd winding tread

Main flight assembled including 3rd winding tread

The finished staircase, ready for fitting

The finished staircase, ready for fitting

As well as  the main flight of the staircase, there were all the other components to be done including the handrails, baserails, stop-chamfered spindles, apron nosing and draw-bore pegs to fix the mortice and tenon joints together. Once these were all done, making the staircase was complete, ready for stage two, the fitting of the staircase.

Building the stairwell platform

Building the stairwell platform

Building the stairwell platform

Building the stairwell platform

Because of the layout of the stairwell, which used to be the entrance to the house, a platform which was essentially the first tread of the staircase had to be built before installing the new pine open-tread staircase on top of it. The space where the windows are in the images to left would eventually become a small, rarely used “nook”

The main flight is offered into place

The main flight is offered into place

The main flight secured to the trimmer joist

The main flight secured to the trimmer joist

The main flight in position and on its platform

The main flight in position and on its platform

Once the platform was complete, the main flight of the staircase could be lifted into position, secured to the trimmer joist on the first floor, and have it’s newel posts fixed on, giving it “Legs to stand on”

Winding section, handrail and spindles now fitted

Winding section, handrail and spindles now fitted

Mitred handrail detail to get over (or under!) a low window sill problem

Mitred handrail detail to get over (or under!) a low window sill problem

Winding section and first floor balustrade handrail and spindles now fitted

Winding section and first floor balustrade handrail and spindles now fitted

With the main flight in place, all the other components could now be fixed on. These were the winding section, the handrails, baserails, nosing, aprons, and spindles.

Then it was time to stand back and enjoy the result! :)

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Bespoke fitted filing cabinet in pine and MDF - Shalford, Surrey

Bespoke fitted filing cabinet in pine and MDF - Shalford, Surrey

Bespoke Fitted Filing Cabinet in Pine & MDF – Shalford Surrey

This large, two drawer filing cabinet was done together with installation of the bookcases and worktops described here, when we converted an old scullery in a grade 2 listed building in Shalford, Surrey into an office.

Once the room was tanked and treated for damp issues, we got to work.

The scullery already had worktops made of slate, which cold, out of level, and very uncomfortable to work on by today’s standards, so in order to modernise it, and because it was a listed building meaning we could not remove or alter any of the existing features, the slate worktops were clad in 25mm Oak-Faced MDF.

Oak MDF top and plain mdf carcassing

Oak MDF top and plain mdf carcassing

Heights of oak-faced mdf worktops uniformed off various slate heights

Heights of oak-faced mdf worktops uniformed off various slate heights

Large MDF filing drawers are made to fit the carcassing before fitted using strong telescopic ball bearing drawer runners

Large MDF filing drawers are made to fit the carcassing before fitted using strong telescopic ball bearing drawer runners

First of all, we had to establish the highest point of the unlevel slate worktops, from which we could level round the height of the new oak faced MDF worktops, which would give the available internal height for the filing cabinet drawers.

With this done the  carcassing could be constructed, and then the filing cabinet drawers themselves, which were made of plain MDF, and fitted using some very robust telescopic, ball-bearing drawer runners. The drawers‘ width and depth dimensions were based on having 4 outsourced metal filing chassis’ fitted inside them, which maximized the storage space, as well as kept the cost down due to less labour in manufacturing the drawers.

Drawers fitted and working

Drawers fitted and working

Pine and MDF drawer fronts

Pine and MDF drawer fronts

Two drawer fronts per drawer breaks up the large size of the filing drawers to make them look more proportional

Two drawer fronts per drawer breaks up the large size of the filing drawers to make them look more proportional

Because of the large size of the filing cabinet drawers, we decided it would look nicer if each drawer had two drawer fronts on it to make them look more appealing and proportional. If we had actually had four drawers, we would have lost about 20cms of storage space, and it would have been more work and more money. In this case, I think we chose the best option :)

Locks fitted for security

Locks fitted for security

The completed filing cabinet, yet to be painted

The completed filing cabinet, yet to be painted

The completed filing cabinet in action, and using every millimetre of space!

The completed filing cabinet in action, and using every millimetre of space!

Security was another important factor for the client, so we happily fitted some cabinet locks to the filing drawers, a necessary addition considering the important home and work documents that will be filed in them.

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Multi-level decking
Multi-level decking

Multi-level decking – Pirbright, Surrey

This job was quite satisfying.

Decking is a fantastic solution to making a pleasant space out of a part of your garden that is lumpy and uneven, and that was exactly the case here.

It was built from right outside the back door of this house in Pirbright all the way to the shed, angled at 45° to the house onto the grass, and stepped up around the corner of the house.

In this case, plywood with a softwood grain was used for the finished surface rather than the normal decking timber, and in doing this, we saved about three quarters of the price!

This will look just fine when it has been stained and preserved, and besides, it would be very easy to take the ply up and lay decking timber, should it be required sometime in the future, perhaps when the economy picks up!

Initial stages of the framework

Initial stages of the framework

Initial stages of the framework

Initial stages of the framework

Initial stages of the framework

Initial stages of the framework

Above are some shots of the initial stages of the decking, which is to fix the outer joists of the frame to whatever you have available that is secure, ensuring that they are level as you fix them.

Once they are fixed, the common joists can then be fixed between them, and in theory, should be level providing you were accurate in fitting your initial joists.

Common joists fitted in first section

Common joists fitted in first section

Common joists fitted in first section

Common joists fitted in first section

First section now supported on bricks and noggins fitted

First section now supported on bricks and noggins fitted

Sometimes though, the timber can be a little bent which can lead to the decking being out of level. To counter this, i fitted the joists with the bend hanging down, then later they could be wedged into level from the ground when the framework is supported on bricks. The noggins also add strength and rigidity.

Beginning the framework for the lower section

Beginning the framework for the lower section

Building the second section around a tree stump

Building the second section around a tree stump

Second section completed, leveled, supported and noggined

Second section completed, leveled, supported and noggined

Quite a bit of digging was involved before i could begin the second section, which was a triangle and around 150mm lower than the first. This was to ensure that the framework, once level, wasn’t touching the ground and rot would be prevented.

Luckily for me (not!), the 8 or 9 wheelbarrows of earth which had to be removed was around an old tree stump, and I lost count of the amount of roots I came across that need to be sawn off! There were a few swear-words, but i think all the neighbours were out. If they weren’t, their windows were closed!

The framework had to be built around the tree stump, which was cut off at the same level as the top of the framework, so that the ply could be kept level.

The third section went more smoothly

The third section went more smoothly

All sections completed, level and secure

All sections completed, level and secure

The next step is laying the plywood boards

The next step is laying the plywood boards

Thankfully the third section, which was the same level and adjacent to the second section was a lot more simple to do because it was basically another square. There was a bit of trimming around the drain to do near the back door but other than that, it was quite straight-forward. Once it was all leveled and supported, it was time to start laying the boards.

The tree stump was ground down

The tree stump was ground down

A plastic membrane covers the stump

A plastic membrane covers the stump

The boarding continues with the stump leveled off and fixed to

The boarding continues with the stump leveled off and fixed to

That tree stump hadn’t finished with me yet.

It was poking up higher than top of the framework, so it would’ve interfered with the ply boarding. I took an angle-grinder to it and ground it down to the same level as the framework. It seemed like quite a good idea to use something that hindered my structure as part of my structure! Before I layed any ply on it, I covered the stump with a piece of plastic membrane to prevent the stump from drawing moisture from the ground and depositing it on the underneath of the ply, possibly causing it to rot.

I then carried on laying the boards, using the stump to fix to.

Decking complete!

Decking complete!

Decking complete, a great improvement!

Decking complete, a great improvement!

The good thing about a job like this is that the easy bit laying the boards, was the last bit!

Tree stump aside, this job went really well, and will look really great when stained up.

All we need to do now is wait for summer, and then its time for barbecues! :)

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Softwood & MDF staircase with Oak & Chrome handrail - West Sussex

Softwood & MDF staircase with Oak & Chrome handrail - West Sussex

Softwood & MDF staircase with Oak & Chrome handrail – West Sussex

This was the second of two staircases I worked on in West Sussex, the main staircase can be seen here.

This staircase was built in the newly constructed section that connected two originally separate buildings together to form a large single residence. As you can see in the image to the left, the staircase is actually 3 staircases connecting 4 different levels. This is because one of the original two buildings was higher than the other.

The stairs themselves were made from softwood strings and newel stubs, with MDF treads and risers, while the handrail was from B&Q’s range of Oak and Chrome.

Routing the softwood strings

Routing the softwood strings

The staircase having been assembled

The staircase having been assembled

A single bullnose at the bottom of the middle flight of stairs

A single bullnose at the bottom of the middle flight

It was a fairly straight-forward process, as although the staircase had to connect four floors, it was only three straight flights, with no winding sections. There had to be some careful measuring before construction began, as the tread rise and going for each flight was slightly different, and a landing had to be constructed at the top of the top flight to meet regulations as there was a doorway there.

The middle flight was fitted first

The middle flight was fitted first

The bottom flight was fitted second

The bottom flight was fitted second

The top flight and landing was fitted last, before the handrail was started

The top flight and landing was fitted last, before the handrail was started

The oak and chrome handrail, newels and spindles are fitted

The oak and chrome handrail, newels and spindles are fitted

The softwood stub newels were rounded over for decorational purposes before the chrome newel bases were fitted.

Once they were on, the oak newel posts were slotted in and the chrome handrail connectors were slotted onto them once the newels were cut to the correct height ( the oak newels and the oak handrail are the same and are supplied in lengths of around 3 metres).

The oak handrail could then be fitted and the chrome spindles then followed once the oak base-rail was fixed onto the softwood strings.

I must admit that i was dubious about the appearance of the B&Q Oak and Chrome handrail system, but once it was installed, it felt fresh, clean and modern, and really did look great :)

On the other hand, B&Q sell it as something for the DIYer, but i could imagine the average non-skilled DIYer having quite a bit of trouble getting their head around some of the initial measuring and positioning of components. And this is not helped by the slight irregularities of the chrome fittings which make some easier to fit than others.

But that said, this was another job that went really well, and as always, the best part was that my customer was very pleased with it.

:)

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December 16th, 2009 by admin
Continuous oak handrail - Alton

Continuous oak handrail and spindles - Alton

Continuous oak handrail and spindles – Alton

This job was actually for my grandmother.

The image to the left shows the finished job, having installed the continuous oak handrail and spindles on to the staircase that before i started,  actually had no safety measures in place whatsoever! And what kind of wood-working grandson would I be if I simply allowed my grandmother to continue dicing with death up and down an unsafe staircase?!

As you can see in the picture to the left, the spindles are morticed into the cut string, and at the top eventually diminish into a rail on the ceiling.

This meant that in order to have a single handrail all the way up on the right side the staircase, there had to be an “S” bend in the handrail for it to get around the ceiling.

"S" bend in the oak handrail

"S" bend in the oak handrail

Continuous handrail is shaped around the ceiling

Continuous handrail is shaped around the ceiling

Staggered oak spindle to avoid awkward joint to handrail

Staggered oak spindle to avoid awkward joint to handrail

Up until the “S” bend, the oak spindles were slotted into a groove on the underside of the handrail. Above the “S” bend, the handrail had no groove, as the spindles were no longer underneath the handrail, since they diminished into the ceiling, and it was bracketed to the wall.

The “S” bend however presented difficulties when it came to joining it to the spindle that was underneath it. I got over this by chopping the top of the spindle at the same angle as the pitch of the staircase, and about 40mm below the handrail. I then chopped another small peice of the spare oak spindle with the same angle at either end, and glued that to the shortened spindle, before finally chopping a 3rd small peice angled at the bottom end but square at the top, and glued this to the 2nd peice, which left me with staggered spindle that missed the “S” bend of the oak handrail, and joined neatly into, and formed the first spindle of the ceiling rail.

Its funny how the smallest jobs can sound so confusing!

The end result was a good one though, and a big plus is that my grandmother is now safe :)

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Double winding staircase in softwood & MDF

Double winding staircase in softwood & MDF

Double Winding Staircase in softwood & MDF-Guildford.

This was another staircase built on site.

It leads from the first floor of a semi-detached house in Guildford up to a loft conversion on the second floor.

The strings (sides of the staircase) and the newels were in softwood, and the treads and risers were in MDF.

There were two winding sections, one three “kite” tread section as you step on to the staircase, turning right as you go up, then a six tread straight flight before arriving at the second three “kite” tread winding section turning again to the right and onto the second floor landing.

This staircase was directly above the staircase from the ground floor to the second floor, allowing the required minimum 2 metres of headroom between the two.

The Process

Setting out the staircase

Setting out the staircase

Routing the strings

Routing the strings

Gluing the risers into the treads

Gluing the risers into the treads

Sanding the strings before assembly

Sanding the strings before assembly

Assembling the straight flight section

Assembling the straight flight section

Trying the newel posts on

Trying the newel posts and winding treads

Fitting the staircase, main section first.

Fitting the staircase, main section first.

Fitting the winding treads

Fitting the winding treads

Fitting the handrail and spindles

Fitting the handrail and spindles

Installation complete, ready to be decorated and carpeted

Installation complete, ready to be decorated and carpeted

I always find staircases extremely satisfying to do.

When done well, they add a great deal of character to any house.

In this case, there wasn’t a huge amount of space to work in while making the staircase, but it is always an advantage to have the place where the stairs are going to end up close by so that any measurements that you need during the job are there to hand and progress is not hindered.

I love getting rid of the ladder that has been used upto the point of staircase installation and standing back and enjoying a newly fitted staircase. And everyone else working on the site is always pleased to not have to carry all their tools up and down ladders anymore too!

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December 13th, 2009 by admin
Newly fitted bannisters

Newly fitted banisters

Newly fitted banisters in St Johns, Woking

As a carpenter and joiner, it’s always a pleasure to bring wooden furniture and household features up to date.

What you see to the left is the newly fitted banisters that replaced some that were fairly out of date.

In this case, the square newel posts were kept as they were, and we installed new handrail, base-rail, spindles and newel caps, which were sourced by the customer from Wickes in St Johns, Woking.

Once i have met with the customer and advised them on what their options are, with replacement handrail jobs,  I usually suggest that the customer gets hold of the materials themselves, because that way, they get what they want and they know that they are paying the right price.

Currently, i am hearing from a lot people who would like to have their staircase modernized. When house were being built in the 70s and 80s, it was then fashionable to have the horizontal boarding fitted between the newel posts, but nowadays it isn’t so desirable. Another concern, particularly for this customer, is that their young toddlers could be very tempted to use the horizontal banisters as a climbing frame, which could very easily end in tears!

The Process

70s/80s horizontal bannisters to be removed

70s/80s horizontal banisters to be removed

Old bannisters being removed

Old banisters being removed

Old bannisters now removed and old holes filled

Old banisters now removed and old holes filled

The first thing to do was to put down all the dust sheets to protect the carpet from the majority of the dust.

Next was to remove the existing newel caps and cut out the handrail and balustrading using a handsaw. Once this was done, the tops of the newels needed to be prepared to fit the recess of the new newel caps.

I used angle brackets to fix the new handrail to the existing newels, which had to be rebated into both the newels and the new handrail, so that they wouldn’t be seen once the rebates were filled.

As always with old staircases, over time, the newels had shrunken out of square, so careful measurements and recording of angles had to be made in order to cut the ends of the handrails and base-rails so that they joined nicely to the newel posts.

Once the new handrails and base-rails were fitted, i used two part filler to make good the small holes and cracks around where i had filled the old holes with timber, and sanded everything flat to give a good surface to be decorated.

Spindles now installed

Spindles now installed

Next was fitting the spindles, which required calculating the equal spaces between each, and then cutting the spacers to the right size.

This is one of my favourite parts of this kind of job, because once you have the spacers and the spindles all cut to the right length and angle, fitting them is a very quick job, providing you have a nail gun (which i do!). If you only have a hammer and nails, than it will take about 6 or 7 times as long, but in comparison to the rest of the job, which can be quite strenuous and laborious, it is a real breeze, which is all the nicer when it is the last part of the job!

This job took a bit longer than a normal working day, but I stayed a bit longer in this case to get it finished, as leaving it unfinished wouldn’t be safe for the customers young children.

The customers very kindly let me work on their banisters while they were out, so as to let me get on with it as efficiently as possible. The job was finished within the timescale quoted, and all in all, everyone was happy!

A nice job :)

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November 29th, 2009 by admin
This was a really nice oak staircase to do.  It was for an impressive new build house in West Byfleet, and the client had the build planned out very well, which always helps in acheiving the desired result.  This was in fact 2 two staircases as the house has three floors, the flight shown to the left was from the ground floor, leading up to the first floor. You can just see the second staircase directly above this one which leads upto the second floor. The double bullnose and twin monkey-tail handrails really make for a spectacular entrance through the front door into the main hallway.

This was a really nice oak staircase to do. It was for an impressive new build house in West Byfleet, and the client had the build planned out very well, which always helps in acheiving the desired result. This was in fact 2 two staircases as the house has three floors, the flight shown above was from the ground floor, leading up to the first floor. You can just see the second staircase directly above this one which leads upto the second floor. The double bullnose and twin monkey-tail handrails really make for a spectacular entrance through the front door into the main hallway.

This image shows a view of both oak cut string staircases from the top floor, and from here, you can also see the curved oak gallery handrail. In case you're wondering, the white blob is a pendant lampshade suspedned from the ceiling above!

This image shows a view of both oak cut string staircases from the top floor, and from here, you can also see the curved oak gallery handrail. In case you

Cut string oak staircases - view from ground I

Cut string oak staircases - view from ground I

Cut-string oak staircases - view from ground II

Cut-string oak staircases - view from ground II

Oak cut-string staircases - view from first floor

Oak cut-string staircases - view from first floor

Cut-string oak staircase - before assembly

Cut-string oak staircase - before assembly

If you’d like to enquire about having work done similar to this, please don’t hesitate to get in touch by clicking here

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